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The Cloud Offers Opportunity for Oil and Gas Cybersecurity

The rapid acceleration in the adoption of cloud services has increased the focus on cybersecurity. While data protection and privacy have always been key concerns in the oil and gas industry, they frequently have been achieved by isolating networks and strengthening perimeter defenses. However, this approach has allowed poor practices in many areas. The author argues that the advent of cloud technology should not be regarded as a further challenge to security, but an opportunity to revitalize and improve a company’s defenses dramatically.

Introduction

Computer security involves a web of trust between operating systems, hypervisors, applications, networks, employees, contractors, and administrators (Fig. 1). This system must guard against intentional and unintentional breaches and attacks by malicious actors who might be individuals, corporations, or even governments. The directionality of this trust relationship is complex: for example, an application must establish a user’s identity to determine what level of trust to apply to their actions; a user must trust that an application will not distribute entered information illicitly.

Fig. 1—The web of trust in computer security.

 

Traditional models for network protection typically have focused on perimeter security. This focus frequently has allowed multiple attack vectors to be ignored or left unaddressed. Companies often maintain robust firewall policies alongside poor password-management practices. In addition, many commercial software packages for the industry have implemented their own authentication systems, making a multiplicity of different user identifiers and passwords unavoidable.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 191563, “Cyber Security, the Cloud, and Oil and Gas,” by Peter Black, SPE, EnergySys, prepared for the 2018 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, 24–26 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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The Cloud Offers Opportunity for Oil and Gas Cybersecurity

01 August 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 8

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